First meeting of the FRCC. Wastwater Hotel Easter
The Fell and Rock Climbing Club was founded in 1906 after a meeting at the Sun Inn in Coniston. The first President was the famous climber and mountain photographer Ashley Abraham and it remains an active club for mountaineers and rock climbers, whose main purpose is to encourage members in these pursuits by arranging meets and providing huts. The club is also involved in protecting the amenities of the Lake District and promoting the general interest of mountaineers. It numbers some of the leading UK climbers and mountaineers amongst its members.
One of the clubs most important early contributions to promoting the interest of mountaineers was the purchase of a large area of the Lake District above the 1,500 ft contour. This was subsequently presented to the National Trust to ensure that it was freely available to all, for all time, 30 years before the formation of the Lake District National Park. This gift was made as a memorial to club members who were killed in the First World War. It is commemorated by a plaque on the summit of Great Gable and by an Act of Remembrance held there every November.
The club has produced definitive rock climbing guides to the Lake District since 1922 including, in 2003, the award-winning Lake District Rock (Selected Climbs) covering the whole of the Lakes. The range of these guides has now been extended to cover St Bees Head, South Lakes Limestone and the Eden Valley.
The Fell and Rock Climbing Club is registered as a Mutual Society, with the membership limited of 1300. One of the basic requirements to join is an interest in and good knowledge of the Lake District’s fells and all applicants are expected to be experienced mountaineers. The activities of the club are based mainly in the English Lake District but meets are also held elsewhere in England, Scotland and Wales, and also in Continental Europe.
The club is affiliated to the British Mountaineering Council and members help with access issues in Cumbria, Northumberland and Yorkshire. The Club is also Associate Member of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland.
The Library of some 2000 volumes largely donated by members past and present represents an exhaustive and historically important collection. This has now found a permanent home in the library of the Armitt Museum in Ambleside. Here it has been reunited with the collection of former FRCC president Robert Files and his wife Muriel and also with the important collection of 17th-20th century Guides to the Lakes already held at the Armitt.
It is of great satisfaction to both the Fell and Rock Climbing Club and the Armitt that this very significant collection of mountaineering books has come together in the heart of the Lakes and is now accessible to all.
The FRCC archive also includes an important collection of early mountain photography, most notably the original Abrahams bros. glass plate negatives. It also holds a photographic archive of the 1921 Everest Reconnaissance Expedition.